Dade County 4-H: Building Bridges. And Eating Them.


We still have spots left for 4-H Cloverleaf Summer Camp! This will be for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Rock Eagle the week of June 3-7. There will be canoeing, hiking, crafts, games and more! The camp costs $305 total, including transportation to and from Rock Eagle. Come by the Extension office to register and pay your $75 deposit. Go to for more information.


Last week the Dade Middle School Science Club made bridges. First we discussed four of the basic bridge types: beam, truss, arch and suspension. A tree fallen across the banks of a stream is a very simple example of a beam bridge. We see them most often as short bridges across creeks. The truss bridge is a series of triangles. The triangle design spreads out the stress on the bridge, allowing it to bear more weight or span a longer distance. We see truss bridges being used on railroads to span rivers. The shape of the arch bridge spreads the weight of its load out to the supports on each end. This allows an arch bridge to support more weight with less material than other types of bridges. A suspension bridge has supporting towers and a series of cables tied to the towers. By adding more towers, you can extend a suspension bridge over a longer distance.


​​The DMS Science Club students constructed bridges from toothpicks and gum drops. Their goal was to construct a bridge that could support the most weight. The students made many interesting designs, but the truss bridges consistently held the most weight. Once the bridges were constructed and tested, they were also eaten.



Speaking of Dade Middle School, we recently found out that a 4-H Club will be added to the choices of in-school clubs at the middle school next year. We’re excited to have the chance to meet with 4-H’ers twice a month during club time at school!


The Davis fourth-graders have begun putting together Google slides presentations of their science projects. They started filling in their templates with the information they already have on hypothesis, materials list, procedure and references. Now is the time to actually do the experiments! The students have chosen a wide variety of topics, so the presentations should be interesting and informative for everyone.


​The Davis 3rd graders learned about three main types of soils this month: sand, silt, and clay. Sand has large particles and feels gritty when wet or dry. We all know what sand feels like when it gets in your shoes. Silt has medium-sized particles and feels soft and powdery when dry, and smooth and slick when wet. An example of silt would be loose sediment in a creek bed. Clay has tiny particles and is hard and clumpy when dry, and sticky when wet. If you try to walk through clay when it is wet, it will pull your shoe off. The students handled the three types of soil and observed samples with a magnifying glass.


The 4-H'ers participated in the Read to Lead event at the Dade County Public Library on Saturday, March 23. Clover, the 4-H Cow, was there, too!

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